“I Faked My Resume– Now What?” (Dear SQL DBA Episode 46)

“I Faked My Resume– Now What?” (Dear SQL DBA Episode 46)

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Welcome to Dear SQL DBA, a podcast and YouTube Show for SQL Server developers and database administrators.
I’m Kendra Little from SQLWorkbooks.com. I’ve done the last couple episodes
on interviewing and helpful tips for landing that SQL Server DBA job, and I
got a related question this week. This question from a reader goes like this:
Dear SQL DBA, I’ve taken courses on becoming a SQL Server DBA recently
but I wasn’t getting any calls for interviews and it seems that there just
aren’t opportunities out there for people who don’t have experience. So I
added three years of fake experience to my resume saying I had worked as a DBA.
Now I’m getting calls to screen me but interviewers are asking me questions
about real work scenarios. I’m very good at DBA work, but how do I prepare for
these work scenario questions in interviews. Well, this is an honest
question. Sort of. I mean, it’s an honest question about being dishonest, right?
There are a lot of people out there who lie on their resumes. I mean we know this
from the news: there are executives who get caught late in their careers having
faked degrees. If you think about this, you’re like, “wow how could this
person who went so far be so dumb as to lie about this in the modern age?” Once
you lie about something once you’re often very stuck with that lie because
your resume is out there or your LinkedIn profile that used to contain it
is cashed, or there is some evidence. Or someone in your network knows that you
once said that you had an experience, or you had a degree, or you had a
certification… and it will catch up with you! So in the modern world, once you
start on this path of being dishonest, it is very hard to
change it. People who do this often have it follow them for a very long time.
There are a lot of people out there who look for DBA jobs and who lie about
their experience. or lie about their certifications, or have even cheated to
get those certifications. When folks ask, “will a certification
help with my career?” a big part of the reason that certifications don’t hold
that much weight when it comes to hiring managers anymore is there is a history
of a lot of people cheating on certifications. While it might become
part of an overall successful package when you go through interviews, people
are really going to want to make sure that you do have experience. and you do
really know things. That’s the reason that just saying you have a certification
often isn’t good enough. So for our questioner, and for for anyone else who’s
in this boat — because there are other people who do this! I know, because I’ve
done a lot of phone screens: there are a lot of people who fake experience and
it becomes pretty obvious in the interview process. There are a few things
that you should know about the DBA job. In fact you are NOT good at being a DBA.
Our questioner said, “I am good at this SQL DBA stuff.” Actually you’re not, and
it is the wrong job for you. I’m not saying this out of moral outrage,
I’m saying this practically because the essence of the DBA job, in fact the
most important core thing about being a DBA is about being
accountable when things go wrong. As a SQL Server DBA, this isn’t just about
knowledge of what page size the SQL Server uses, or SQL Server internals.
The core job of the DBA is to be the person who’s answering questions like:
“Why were we offline?” “Why is the data wrong?” “Why does this customer say we lost
data?” “Why didn’t this change go as planned?” “You said it would be like X but
it didn’t go that way, why?” “What happened to those indexes?”
“Why do we have corruption?” “Why didn’t we find this earlier?” A core — in fact I think
really THE most important thing about being a DBA — is to be honest and
accountable about what happened, and what we should do in the future. As a DBA,
if when things get hot and when things get under pressure, if your
impulse is to make something up in the moment — to say something to get
the heat off you — it’s going to go really really badly for you. It’s going to be a
time where you lose your job, where you have a hard time getting another job, and
you get really really burnt in terms of being able to succeed. As a DBA you need
to be able to tell the truth even when it’s really unpleasant, and doesn’t work
in your favor. In the long run that always works better for you as a DBA, but
in the short term it is really really hard, and if your inclination is to lie
on your resume about your experience that shows that you’re not suited
to the most core, important things about being a DBA. The second thing
you should know, is that yes, it does take a long time to get a DBA job.
There are actually a lot of good reasons for that. This isn’t a new thing
that it’s hard to get a job as a DBA. It’s it’s been hard to get a job as a
DBA for a long time. When you think about data, usually data is one of a company’s
most valuable assets. If they lose data, or the data is massively incorrect, or
even just if a database is offline for a long time, this often can be a business
ending event. Not just expensive, but so expensive that the company can’t proceed.
This is so critical that they want people managing the data who have not
only knowledge about how to keep the data online, but also experience at
handling things when they go wrong, and experience at planning successful
changes, and preventing things from going wrong. Experience in a lot of processes.
They also someone who has experience being accountable. I had a lot of
education, I had a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree, and my path to
becoming a DBA took more than five years. When I was in graduate school, I
discovered that I loved working with data. I had a work-study job where I
got to work with Access databases, and I found it fascinating.
After I got my degree, I wanted to do it full-time, but I had to move
through so many different jobs because no one would hire me as a DBA. I didn’t
have the experience, and frankly I didn’t have the accountability. So I worked
through all sorts of different jobs and I would always look for jobs where I
could work with data, where I could get a little more experience:
understanding processes, understanding how different teams work together.
Finally I got a job at a software company, but I still wasn’t a DBA. I had
to very carefully work myself to a place where I had enough experience
that I could get a job as a DBA, and I still had to go from a relatively secure
full-time job to a contracting job as an DBA. but it was worth it to me because
as I progressed through that, it was still what I enjoyed the most.
It was still what I wanted to do. But for a lot of people, there might
be places along this journey where along the way you find out you actually like
doing something else better. That’s totally valid. But I
needed all of the experience that I got on this five year journey to finally
getting to be DBA. How software development works in different
situations; how you can make it work the best for your data; how you can
manage changes with different types of software development: these are things I
learned. How I could design changes and minimize risk; how to react when things
go wrong — and that is not a simple thing to learn about, how to react when
things go wrong. Over these five years, I saw a lot of different things go wrong,
and I got to see different teams reacted to that, how they started the
approach, how flexible they were, how they communicated during it, how they followed
it up on it, what went well, what should change in the future. I mean it
was all stuff that when I finally did get that DBA job I used it all. And
right now all right for our questioner: when things are wrong your reaction is
to fake it. Now, it’s it’s possible that you could learn something different,
right? I mean it’s not like if you lie once in your life and you’re doomed forever,
and you’re never going to be able to be a DBA. I’m not saying that. But right now
your reaction is to fake it and to be a successful DBA you’re really gonna have
to train that out of you, because that will backfire on you, and it will just
burn you over and over. Eventually it will just get you out of this
career. But to change things, and to get the experience needed and really move
away from that, so when things go wrong you think of multiple viable
options that you can do that have nothing to do with faking it — that’s
going to take possibly longer than five years. You’re likely to get derailed
before you get there. Honesty is just an essential essential
business skill for DBA. If you’re starting out at a place where you’re not
in the honesty range and you lack this essential skill, I would
honestly look elsewhere just because of efficiency. Because getting to the point
where you can be creative and be honest all the time is going to be a really big
leap in addition to learning everything else that you need to learn you can get
there. It may just take a very very long time, and I would
focus on driving all of that impulse to fake it out of all of your
responses to life, because that is just gonna truly poison your career as a DBA.
For some folks, you may be like, “Well, what about
exaggeration?” A lot of people do exaggerate on their resumes. When you
are building your resume, if you know that you’re exaggerating about something
don’t do it. Don’t inflate numbers, don’t put things on your resume that
aren’t true. For other people, it can be a little trickier: some
people have a hard time writing their resume because even just stating the
truth feels like bragging to them. But a lot of times if you’re one of those
people and you’re self-conscious, and you’re just trying to even
state your accomplishments, and you’re like, “oh but I’m worried that I’m being
dishonest,” find someone to work with on your resume. Someone honest– you’re not
hiring someone to fake things for you– but but find someone who to help you
translate your experience into resume versions of that statement, which may at
first feel like bragging to you. But bragging is fine. Dishonesty is NOT fine.
On a resume, bragging is what really it’s all about. You want to keep
it real, you don’t want to brag about things that didn’t happen, but you do
want to — on a resume you’re saying, “Hey, here’s the cool stuff that I did,” and
you want to be upfront and you want to be clear about that. Finding someone
to work with you on your resume who you can talk things out with, and get a
short phrasing of things that is still accurate, other people can help you with that.
Maybe it’s a friend, maybe it’s a professional resume writer, maybe it’s a
past colleague or a mentor. Other folks can help you with that as well. So
I do want to distinguish that feeling like you’re bragging is
absolutely not the same thing necessarily as being dishonest. The truth
is we all know when we’re lying, and that’s the trait that just won’t serve
you as a DBA. I would like to thank my questioner for an honest question. I hope
you take this feedback that I really I really don’t think this is the career
for you– I hope you take that to heart, and I do wish you the best in your
career, wherever it takes you. But yeah as a DBA
really that accountability is just such a critical, critical business skill.
Thanks for joining me this week for Dear SQL DBA. I’m Kendra Little, and I’ll
see you again next week.

11 thoughts on ““I Faked My Resume– Now What?” (Dear SQL DBA Episode 46)”

  1. Thank you for interesting video. I agree it is so important to provide clear analysis of what was wrong, even if as a result of this analysis a person will confirm that it was herhis wrong decision that cause a problem.

  2. Kendra your argument is 100 percent on the mark. I personally have had to tell an internal customer that I caused the outage. It was not fun at all. By being honest the the internal customer cut me slack and said just get it fixed and back up and available as quickly as you can. Honesty is the best policy.

  3. Bbasically she is saying that it takes 5 years to be DBA. Because it takes her 5 years for it. This is very discouragement for someone new like me. Now i cannot expect DBA job to enter into DBA market. Bad career choice by me to be DBA

  4. Kendra hit the nail on the head on honesty, be honest and sleep good at night. Now on experience; crate your own need. Let's say you get a job as an analyst, or you start coding for a company. Every company, no matter the size, will likely have the need for your SQL skills, they just don't know it yet and it it your job to make that clear. I don't care if is creating a database to track the cookie sales in your department. You will be noticed, you will solve problems. One day you find that the documents or internal data of your department is sorely ignored because most of the attention is going to customer data. So on your days off you learn and create a solution that you present to your supervisor. All of the sudden your supervisors and leads are looking at you differently, as their local problem solver, because corporate IT has no bandwidth for them. Then you connect with your DBA and learn from them, you are available to them. One day they may have a mundane task they rather not do that weekend and you volunteer. Guess what, after a few years you're the DBA's backup because you are familiar with the systems. And all this time, you are learning and getting your certs. Now what has happened? Through all that time, from tracking cookie sales, to some DBA work, you DID worked with databases, you DID gain experience and it was all as part of previous job. Was it your job description? No. Was it part of your job? Yes. Can you speak intelligently about how you can be a problem solver? Absolutely. Let the crowd pound on the company's front door and find the side door. Create your own need!

  5. IT jobs want you to be 20 years old with 7 to 10 years experience. All seriousness, it is very very very rare that you'll find any IT job without needing 3 to 5 years experience.

  6. Ok now tell me honestly ,how many guys out there ,who could reach the level of CEO even, have honestly reached there ! As Jesus said,let the person who has never sinned throw the first stone on the sinner! Be pragmatic,realistic ,sensible and humane (not robotic) when you advice others! The so called dishonesty ,when it doesn't hurt anyone and in fact benefits someone is better than an honesty which hurts everyone and benefits no one !

  7. I want real time project experience On sql Dba experience pls any body is there to help me reply pls we are 3 members we will pay for it

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